Friday, April 30, 2010

DIY rack box

I stole the idea from Bowery Lane Bicycles.  Every time they posted new photos of their bikes, I found I was only looking at the cool boxes they have on the back.  Here's what I'm talking about:

It took a bit of looking to find the right box.  After a beautiful meal at Enotria, their wine manager kindly gave me a box from a case of Far Niente winery.  It proved too beefy to go on a rear rack, but it's a gorgeous box that will find some other cool use.

Eventually, I found the right size box at a local wine merchant and the owner sold me four of them for a very fair price.  Here's the box in question:

And here is the box being examined by my assistant, Scamp.

I selected two bikes to be the test subjects.  Both have wire racks on the back instead of aluminum platform style racks.  The first subject was Takumashi, the '70s Nishiki touring bike.  For this mounting job, I drilled three pairs of smallish holes in the bottom of the box and ran zip ties through, fastening them under the wire rack.  I was dubious of this method at first, but it proved to be effective enough and much less time-consuming than the method to follow.

Here's Takumashi wearing his new storage gear:

The next subject is a bike most of you haven't met yet... It's a 1980 Sears three-speed named Roebuck.  (I've always wondered how Mr. Roebuck felt about his partner's name living on as the company moniker and his own fading away).

For this project, I drilled two holes in the bottom of the box and in a thin strip of wood that went under the box and rack.  I ran bolts through the box, rack and strip, and fastened lock nuts under the strip.  This is very sturdy... You can lift the bike by the box and not disturb its position on the rack.

Here's Roebuck, wondering why he's been posed next to a swimming pool.

Roebuck is going to keep his rack.  He's been designated the grocery-getter for his geometry and ease of riding, but also because he's the bike that causes the least worry when I have to leave it locked for a while.  Takumashi will likely relinquish his rack and return to his life as a unadorned tourer.

Total cost for each bike was about $3.25.  The boxes do their job well.  I put a golf towel in the bottom to keep the lock and other stuff from bouncing around too much.  One slight drawback is that the box prevents use of the saddle loops and a saddle bag with repair kit.  More on overcoming that another time.


  1. Is Scamp going to ride in the box?...if you get a cargo net you might be able to keep her in. ;-)at least for a bit.

    Our wine around here comes in cardboard boxes, they fit on the racks just fine, but get a bit mushy when it rains. LOL

    The wine crate is much classier than a milk crate.


  2. @Aaron, it is exactly the same as the milk crate concept... you're right. As for Scamp, she's 15 and nervous, so I don't see a ride in her future.

    I'm looking at a pair of Superbes tomorrow... stay tuned!

  3. I'd like to comment on the DIY, but can't get beyond the cute little cat!

  4. Velouria, Scamp will be greatly flattered to be called little. She has been, um, robust from an early age. You've made her day.

  5. I think Scamp deserves her own post! Maybe even her own blog. I am sure after 15 years she has lots of tails to tell. LOL

    I had a couple of torties a few years back. Both gone now but never forgotten.


  6. Really, I don't see the point of a wine box or pet. Ahem. Film @ 11:


  7. Jim, that is quite a traveling show you've put together! It looks like fun!